Raquel is the creator-facilitator of arts programs for youths and adults in private institutions, universities, colleges, public schools, residences with organizations, community centers and incarceration facilities. Her work with diverse intergenerational communities, including the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated within the performing/writing disciplines has lead her to sharing the arts with thousands of participants.
“As an arts facilitator to youth and incarcerated women, I was moved and inspired to create work about women, their history and a voice for their futures. My art programs promote personal growth, develops life skills through art-making and self- expression. How art can serve as a tool for social change, a methodology of building theatre that opens hearts and minds to propel action.”
Panels, Conferences, Presentations and Activist Projects– HERE
ACADEMIC LECTURER ROLES
Eugene Lang College, The New School (Spring 2023/24) Adjunct Professor. I Have A Dream Theater & Education Seminar: In this course, students delve into Transformative Theater Education while engaging in community practice by working with NYC public elementary school students at an ‘I HAVE A DREAM’ afterschool program. This course will challenge students to consider how learning is play and how theater games, improvs and collaborative playwriting can allow young people to engage in critical literacy skills. Includes seminars, the groups explores the history of Theater in Education, learning how to design after school curricula and build teaching strategies. Includes experiences being onsite at an IHD afterschool program collaboratively running a small drama group with New School colleagues. Investigating the major prompt with your IHD students, “TO DREAM IS TO —“, the group explores this theme through a variety of theatre making techniques, building a culturally responsive approach to drafting curriculum and devising original work. At the end of the semester, students facilitate a performance, collaborating with colleagues in a sharing that will be written and performed by IHD youth for their families and community. This course fulfills an elective requirement for Lang Theater Majors and Minors.
Augsburg University- The Playwrights Center – Adjunct Professor of Playwriting 2022, spring semester. The writer develops a technique that is individual, yet grounded in fundamental dramatic writing skills. Writers will write weekly scenes and journal entries and be guided through exercises to develop facility with storytelling, plotting, stage action, dialogue, and thematic unity. Select plays by contemporary playwrights of color are read as inspiration and as a catalyst for their work. The class will analyze these plays to identify a variety of skills, themes, and concepts within four categories: Language as Identity, Intersection of Arts and Activism: The Playwright as Activist, Form, and Aesthetics, and Gender Narratives. The heart of this course is about providing a collaborative space where the writer is liberated to find, explore, and expand their theatrical voice to create a series of short works or a full-length play.
Marymount Manhattan College 2020-2022– Adjunct Professor, Division of Fine and Performing Arts. Professor of Intermediate Playwriting (full academic year). Playwrights develop the facility with storytelling, plotting, stage action, dialogue, and thematic unity to complete full length plays. Students express an understanding and appreciation of the creative process with regards to writing plays and theatrical collaboration.
Marymount, Professor of Script Analysis: intensive analysis of theatrical structure of scripts primarily from a social justice lens, viewpoint of the actor, director, and designer. Develop the student’s ability to synthesize the intellectual and intuitive work required to create a theatrical experience from a written text amplifying the Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Women, LGBTQIA+, Neuro-diverse and Differently Abled People and communities.
Marymount, Latinx Performance Across the Americas: creator of a new course that studies the spectrum of Latinx performance through plays and other performance pieces both in the US and Latin America that spans the pre-colonial to the present. Plays and performances are analyzed and discussed as a means of expanding student knowledge and understanding of the complexity of Latinx identity, social movements and performance. – Marymount present position.
Columbia University’s High School International Theatre Collaboration Summer Program. Six consecutive years: Teaching Assistant to Dyana Kimball in training for devised works in writing, performance and direction Lead Butoh dance physical techniques to internationally selected high school participants. Facilitator to writing students through a workshop forum, where they mounted short plays within collaboration, culminating in two public performances. Co- directed several short plays, providing feedback and guidance in works in progress showings to collaboration groups.
Harvard University- LEAD (Latina Empowerment and Leadership) Conference. Guest Lecturer- Conducted a workshop to undergraduate students. Creating Your Own Myth: Workshop explores the power of creating a personal myth and dismantle limiting stereotypes. Drawing from theater techniques, with a de-colonial perspective. Co facilitated with Ana Candida Carneiro of Babel Theater Project.
New York University – Guest Lecturer – undergraduate level facilitation in the Education Department for the course American Dilemmas: Race, Inequality and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Public Education. Workshop and lecture on power structure within sectors of social inequality. Devised theatrical narratives in transformation of oppression and dialogue towards creative solutions.
Carnegie Mellon University, School of Drama – Guest Lecturer – graduate level facilitation to Mei Ann Teo’s students in the John Wells Directing program addressing interdisciplinary theatre techniques.
University of California, Berkley in the Theater, Dance and Performance Studies Department- Guest Lecturer for Chelsea Gregory’s course, Acts of Solidarity where devised, applied theatre and interdisciplinary techniques are explored to make original work with undergraduate student cohorts.
Suny Purchase College – Guest Lecturer – undergraduate level master class facilitation on Theatre of the Oppressed forum theatre techniques including the role of the Joker during a residency process.
The New School – Guest Lecturer for Caits Meissner’s course on community arts based programming. Provided feedback and guidance on works in progress to undergraduate student’s projects. Guest Lecturer for Liza Jessie Peterson, Intro to playwriting, provided feedback on synopsis beginnings of new plays for undergraduate students.
Amherst College – Guest Lecturer in the courses facilitated by Ana Ana Candida Carneiro, Writing for Performance and Feminist Discourse. Students examine and exchange with Almazan’s solo multi-media piece, Porning the Planet: The De-sensitization of a Nation, it’s use of feminist theory, performance and writing techniques.
New World School of the Arts/University of Florida – Guest Lecturer to undergraduate and high school students in development of one person shows: developing themes, structure and intentionality
Pace University B.F.A. Theatre Program- Guest Lecturer – lead students in physical performance training within the Suzuki and Butoh Dance technique.
Bridgewater State University – Guest Lecturer – undergraduate level facilitation. Lecture performance of excerpts from Almazan’s Latin is America Play Cycle- CAFÉ, La Paloma Prisoner and La Negra at Bridgewater State University addressing the topics of race, gender, sexuality, globalization and indigenous rights. Facilitated workshops with Latin American studies and theatre students on creating work from personal and political narratives, including social inequality. Funded by Diversity Grant with the Latin American & Caribbean studies, Women’s and Gender Study, Theatre and Social Justice Departments.
Union College – Almazan performs excerpts of Latin is America – a lecture performance from her Latin is America play cycle. Lecture and Q & A on the overview of her theatre career and it’s relationship to Latinx activism.
BMCC – Almazan performs excerpts from CAFE and LA NEGRA, part of her “Latin is America” play cycle, followed by a Q & A with the students: Borough of Manhattan Community College for Women’s History Month.
Hostos Community College- Guest Lecturer – undergraduate level facilitation. Master class introduction to playwriting. Conducted playwriting techniques where students wrote monologues that expanded into scenes and introduced elements of playwriting.
PLAY DEVELOPMENT LABS / MASTERCLASS WORKSHOPS
The Playwrights Center – Facilitator for the Online Seminar: Submitting Series Part II: The Artistic Statement. Almazan created original material and prompts addressing core aspects of drafting bios, artist statements, synopsis and CV.
Lead Facilitator for Dramatic Question Theatre’s American Woman (AW), a solo show development and presentation program for Women-identifying and gender non-conforming emerging writers living in the United States. Selected participants in this lab engage in a re-write process based on a pre-existing draft of a solo piece. The cohort then will provide feedback based on the goals of the playwright, moderated by the instructor. Almazan provides individualized weekly dramaturgical verbal and written feedback. The program will serve and celebrate solo shows that may reflect a variety of structures, aesthetics, techniques, themes and theatrical elements. 2022-23
Harvard Dance Center – Co-facilitated with Ana Candida Carneiro, an exploration of intersecting Butoh dance and writing, and addresses themes of transcultural dialogue. This workshops creates the relationship of an ensemble to respond with movement and sound, and expands that collaboration as a springboard for solo text or group theatrical text, based on Butoh Dance techniques and provides a holistic relationship with the body, leading to breaking down boundaries in the theatrical space. It interweaves writing prompts, moments of movement and exchange sequences. Developing the writing materials that emerged into concrete dramaturgical proposals. Utilizing the imagination of a map on the floor and the metaphors of travel and migration, we will create a synergy where the participants will interact in a non-traditional way to create the unexpected.
Rising Cirlce Theatre Collective– INKtank Playwrights 12 week Lab Facilitator, four consecutive years: to provide feedback, guidance towards re-writes and staged readings of four playwrights of color in New York City.
Facilitator of physical theatre ritual sessions for ensemble building, influenced by Butoh Dance for Pangea World Theatre Ensemble and community participants. National Performance Network contract residency Minneapolis.
Girls Write Now – Salon Series: Defiant Dialogue. Almazan lead an online writing master class on shaping dialogue through a series of prompts. A. Speaking truth to power. B. Defending your adversary. C. Listening in the Struggle. Included a Q & A on Almazan’s journey as a female playwright.
Art + Action Intensive – Addressing Mass Incarceration through the Arts with Gibney Dance. Co-facilitated workshop. take participants through the process of a month-long pilot residency, Living Story Lab, that was facilitated with incarcerated young people at Rikers Correctional.The pedagogy and structure of that pilot program was developed in response to the needs of the youth, using their cultural rituals as an entry point, in order to create new ways of offering sacred space in challenging environments. We explored narrative – storytelling within a multidisciplinary process, using visual art, theatre of the oppressed power dynamics, writing, drumming and dance. The program arch used a core praxis of Life-mapping – Past, Present and Future – as a tool for reflection, envisioning and choice-making for the future of each participant while building community.
Crossing Thresholds Artist Training Retreat. Theater/ Performance/ Creativity Retreat/ Training on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Forging ancient ritual to the forefront of modern theatre – A theatrical retreat for artist (presented by Teo Castellanos, Tarell Mc Craney and Raquel Almazan) Participants trained/created, using exercises influenced by Zen, Michael Chekhov, Butoh Dance, and Viewpoints. Discipline and ritual plays a part in the training and creative process, from stillness of meditation to the chaos of free movement, mythology, archetypes, imagination, and creative expression. The group created a daily practice of yoga, physical dance, writing and original ensemble work. This retreat also included immersion in Guatemalan culture, hike retreats and site specific performances.
TEACHING ARTIST/ COMMUNITY RESIDENCIES
Wolf Brown Consulting: Education consultant: Almazan collaborates with Wolf Brown on their work with Ghetto Film School in creating modes of engagement with GFS staff and young filmmakers based on their reflections and contributions. Conducted interview sessions with current GFS students and alumni, curated inquiry questions for survey frameworks, evaluation metrics and reporting of student program feedback.
Project Manager: Lesson editor and contributor, coordinator and researcher with City Lore and The Department of Education, (Music Department- Division of Curriculum & Instruction) for Hidden Voices: an 8 lesson unit plan for music teachers across New York City public schools. The innovative project titled, Roots, Routes & Rhythms: Latin American Music in New York City centers the musical forms: Cuban Salsa, Mexican San Jarocho, Puerto Rican Plena, Dominican Palo, Haitian Rara, Afro-Peruvian Cajon, and Clave rhythms. Almazan collaborated with leading cultural bearers (to create 8 original lessons) who specialize in a variety of Latin American musical forms.
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) – BAM Education connects learning with creativity, engaging imagination by encouraging self-expression through in- and after-school programs for students and teachers; school-break workshops; and offerings for audiences of all ages. Facilitation for several pre- show theatre and pre-screening workshops at BAM, including social justice themed documentaries. Group collaboration on creating original pedagogy for workshops.
Manhattan Theatre Club – Guest artist for playwriting facilitation and performance in plays written by NYC Public School Students, final performance of selected plays at City Stage off Broadway. Co- facilitation for writing/performance workshops of plays written by male students at Rikers Island Prison and Horizons Juvenile Detention Center. Co facilitated parent/child workshop for MTC’s The Columnist and The Assembled Parties, guest performer for Saint Joan workshop.
City Lore – Founder of pilot youth program. Director or Urban Explorers afterschool program. The participants learn how to conduct original research using the tools and strategies of ethnography: observation, interviews, documentation, and interpretation through audio, video, and still photography. As well as other visual art tools, writing, group performance, music and dance. They will work both collectively and individually to document and present the cultural practices of their own communities and/or other community groups and sites through multi-media digital storytelling. Almazan produced several original short documentaries in collaboration with youth, including award winning films commissioned by The Smithsonian Museum.
City Lore Teaching Artist: Theatre for Change is a DEVISED BASED process where students create original short plays using the Forum Theatre process based on Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. Issues addressed in the plays stem from students’ real life experiences and use character tactics to stage strategies for personal and social transformation. Building a theatre ensemble through exercise and improvisation is the heart of the process. The culmination of the residency included short forum plays by 4 to 5 groups where the audience entered the play experience to propose solutions to issues presented by each play. Students also learned about the professional aspects of being a theatre maker; supported by guest artists. City as School NYC
Epic Theatre – mission is to create bold work with and for diverse communities that promotes vital discourse and social change. Guest playwriting instructor– devised original exercises based on Joseph Campbell’s – The Hero’s Journey, leading students into original character, dialogue and scene development. Also worked with a Bronx high school student body that spoke diverse languages and aided them in writing immigrant journey stories. As well as serving as a guest actor for final readings of political issue plays by Harlem youth.
Repertorio Espanol– has committed its resources to making theatre accessible and part of the classroom experience with the aim of instilling cultural pride, promoting self-awareness, and divulging the riches of Spanish-language theatre. Guided students in writing original plays addressing the administration, immigration and gender violence, culture, loss and racism, directed final performance at Repertorio Theatre. Directed Romeo and Juliet scenes at Mathers HS. Instructed play adaptations of classic Spanish literature – short stories and social justice superhero scenes to Spanish speaking HS students.
Life Jacket Theatre – Queer Detainee Empowerment Project: Our Stories are our Power! A theatre residency where the QDEP community shared struggles and strategies to create a bold future of liberation to empower a new reality. Through text, improvisation, storytelling and movement detainee narratives were explored and celebrated towards a vision for a more equitable world. 2024 Teachiing Artist in Residence, in collaboration with Urban Explorers with City Lore.
Dream Yard- programs develop artistic voice, nurture young peoples’ desire to make change and cultivate the skills necessary to reach positive goals. We believe that young people in the Bronx need a continuous set of supports to help them towards positive outcomes as they navigate their educational pathway, youth develop the necessary tools to become creative and engaged citizens, life-long learners and the leaders and innovators of the 21st century. *Bronx International High School
Ping Chong and Company– Facilitator for devised, documentary theatre based residency process. Secret Histories is an in-school arts education program that helps young people develop confident, connectedness, and empathy as they use their unique voices and perspectives to explore issues of culture, identity, and belonging. Through this process, students build skills as writers, public speakers, and theatrical performers as they see their ideas culminate in a performance. Facilitated residencies with elementary school students, youth in detention center and public school educators.
Facilitator for Theatre of the Oppressed – forum theatre troupe residency at The Aids Center of Queens County with immigrant participants, four years. Additional troupes also include Atlas, DIY, Sunset Park, Red Hook Community Justice Center and Crossroads Detention Center. Presentations include Legislative Theatre at Queens Museum with ACQC troupe. Master class on Legislative Theatre co-facilitated with Katy Rubin for the Theatre of the Oppressed NYC 3rd annual Legislative Theatre Festival, The New School. Intensive intro workshop with Gibnery Dance, The Queens Community House, National Immigrant Integration Conference, Washington DC Community, The Wexner Foundation, Manhattan Bridges High School and The Cooperative Development Program in Sunset Park with Latina leaders. Facilitator for an intensive workshop with Safe Horizon’s human trafficking survivors leadership group, culminating in an original forum play that the group will perform at advocacy events. Facilitator for the Racial Equity in the Arts Innovation Lab, training 60 New York City arts and cultural organizations to deepen their racial equity work for the organization Race Forward in forum theatre techniques.
Teaching Artist and coordinator for Language in Play Program, directed by Tony Plana. Five month residency at MS 442 Middle School, Brooklyn. Students learn a variety of theatre techniques, including Boal and Spolin exercises to perform/ write original work to culminate in a final presentation. NYC
People’s Theatre Project– People’s Theatre Project, a nonprofit arts and social justice organization, unites members of under-represented communities to raise awareness of their shared struggles through the personally and socially transformative process of collaborative theatre making. In both community and school-based settings, all People’s Theatre Project programs for children and youth follow the organization’s unique curriculum that engages the actors in a variety of theatre making projects inspired by social themes and culminates in a theatrical collage performed for the community. Concentration on racial injustice through the restorative justice approach of facilitating. High school and middle school students. NY
Urban Art Beat – Co- Program content creator and Facilitator for Living Story Lab pilot program, art sessions on Rikers Island Correctional Facility offered to male youth. Narrative – storytelling is explored and expressed within a multidisciplinary process, using music, visual art, theatre, lyric writing, drumming and dance. Arch of the program used Past, Present and Future – as a tool for reflection and steps for a vision for the future for each participant; to create lasting, organic experiences in the space with youth.
Aquinas Catholic School and Convent, Bronx, NYC. Directed the full production of Sister Act: The Musical and Dream Girls: The Musical with an all female high school cast of Dominican, African American and Caribbean descent student body.
Co- Creator with Mei Ann Teo of First Do No Harm, partnered with H.E.A.L.T.H. for youths organization and Whole Foods NYC.
FIRST DO NO HARM is a free workshop for under-served youth that employs a communal theatre practice towards a holistic fusion of mental, physical and spiritual awareness. We begin by forming a daily practice through meditation and yoga and examine how we feed our bodies through nutritional education by visiting community gardens and shared daily lunches made together. From this place of physical and mental clarity, we explore the unlocked potential of our personal and social histories through performance, storytelling and writing. Through creating a piece together that explores the inherited assumptions of how we live, we hope that communally, we can push past limitations and create sustainability in new healthy habits. Culminating performance August 2013 in the site specific Riley-Levin Children’s Garden. 2 week workshop NYC.
Iati Theatre – Tracing the Immigrant experience: Devising original narratives and physical tableaus of migration and identity with the PTA – mothers of Sunset Park elementary school. NYC
John Robert Powers Acting Academy. Training Director and Instructor. Instructed and managed a staff of teachers in diverse training in Manhattan and the NYC branch of !IPOP! The International Presentation of Performers. Developed hundreds of kids, teens and young adult for the professional acting industry with top NYC / Los Angeles agents, casting directors and managers. Students she has coached have been featured in major motion pictures, Broadway/ off Broadway theatres, and national television programs and commercials. Arranged promotional photo shoots and marketing layouts, printing.
Classes taught include: Film Study, Intro to commercials, scene-study, soap-sitcom, monologue, Improvisation, Audition Technique, Life skills, The Business of Acting and performing in self-written work.
Teaching Artist for Future Stage, Fidelity Investments Program with LEAP Learning Through the Expanded Arts Organization New York City. Six month long residency as a Teaching Artist to high school students who learned theatre techniques to perform and write autobiographical work. Students wrote ten minute plays, participated in a detailed rehearsal process that Almazan directed, towards a professional presentation. Selection process to perform Broadway/ off-Broadway and selected plays published through Samuel French. Workshops with celebrity theatre artists, sessions with seasoned dramaturgs, attending Broadway shows and panels with high profile playwrights was also integrated into the process of what students experienced.
*Originated several exercises and techniques for curriculum programming.
*Program was featured in The New York Times, Back Stage and the New York Post.
Co- Creator of New Rites Collective Arts Program. Lead facilitator of the arts program with the Off Broadway Company Theatre East.
The New Rites Collective is a summer residency program whose focus is for at risk youth to gain exposure to visual and performing arts through an innovative blueprint for social and cultural change. The first annual program was held at Innovation Diploma High School in New York City during the summer of 2010 and incorporated writing, visual arts, new media, and performance based workshops along with mentoring, counseling and design/production opportunities. This course provided youth an opportunity to use the power of the arts to connect notions of their own “self” to the world and foster social and cultural change. Culminated in a final multi-interdisciplinary performance.
*Curated curriculum that included an introduction to Butoh Dance, Shakespeare and Theatre of the Oppressed workshops.
Performer/facilitator with Educational Play Productions, a company dedicated to dealing with the social issues of children and teens. Plays a variety or roles in repertory in over 25 NYC Public Schools with this company founded by Carmen Rivera and Candido Tirado award winning Puerto Rican playwrights. Facilitated post-show debriefs with large audiences of students and faculty.
Conflict/Resolution Workshop. Brooklyn Arts Council. Integrating original performances with youths through community arts. In this workshop artists/students learn the creative and developmental process of solo/group work based on, oral histories and autobiographical material within the themes of personal and social conflict-resolution. As a means for exploring their participation in society as students, sons/daughters, and future leaders. Voice and body technique-building a series of vocal/physical exercises for training/performance. Exposure to these performances- new material and techniques will provide a common basis for the study and discussion of finding different approaches to conflict.
Wingspan Arts NYC– Teatro en Espanol. Teacher to elementary students. Through games and role-playing, kids dive into the world of the Spanish language. With dance, art, and theatre, kids learn voice and movement techniques of acting that develop into a final presentation. Improv, scene work, group collaborations and solo performance are explored in the Spanish language. Students use their creativity to put together original material they build on with the new Spanish words they learn every course.
Art Spring Organization: theatre arts facilitator to incarcerated women – beginners and advanced, an arts based organization that serves underserved and institutionalized women and girls with programs designed to promote personal growth and develop life skills through art-making and self- expression. Since 1994, Art Spring has been responding to the needs of adult female inmates and adjudicated girls through it’s two principal programs: Inside Out and Breaking Free. These interdisciplinary arts programs incorporate movement, theatre games, writing, drawing, story-telling and performance as transformational tools.